We fish for sockeye salmon, but that’s not all we catch. No, in addition to our chosen quarry, our nets have a way of attracting unwelcome visitors, be it flounders or Irish Lords (one of the least lovely creatures I have ever had the misfortune to gaze upon) or jellyfish.
Usually, when the jellies start showing up, it’s a sign that the season is almost over. Usually, there are just a few of them, their helpless, squishy bodies trapped against the net. Usually, they are harmless enough.
But this year, for whatever reason, be it warming seas or the end of days, there were more than usual. Lots more.
And in their unwelcome numbers, they were a nuisance to the fishermen, whose nets were heavy with hundreds of them.
One might rightly observe that jellyfish are beautiful, in their way.
We were riding up the beach with Alden just after the beginning of the jellyfish invasion, and she asked to stop to take a closer look. One of the things I love best about this kid is her sense of adventure and her utter fearlessness. I suppose that’s two things I love about her.
For the next few days, the jellyfish became a welcome addition to the beach community, as far as Alden was concerned. She was proud to have made their acquaintance and truly couldn’t comprehend the fishermen’s grumbling. How could such delightful creatures be anything but welcome?
One of my favorite tundra pastimes is running along the beach up to a cannery about three miles north of our compound. What is usually an exercise in dodging ropes and stranded flounders took on a whole new degree of peril. I felt as if I were in a dystopian game show obstacle course in which the only aim was to survive.
According to Robbi, the jellyfish numbers gradually thinned, and eventually they went away, back to whatever corner of the ocean convinced them to bloom in such abundance.
Will they return? We cannot say. Alden has her fingers crossed.